Challans is the main economic centre of the Vendée and is also the second largest town . It is known as the ‘duck capital’ and is in many ways to the French what Aylesbury is to the English. You will find many restaurants include duck-based dishes on their menus and indeed the ducks raised here are in demand throughout France by the greatest chefs. Specialities on some menus include: Duck cooked in Muscadet and Flan Maraichin which is a sort of egg custard in a pastry case.
Recently the town has diversified somewhat by increasing free range black chicken stock as well (poulet noir). In the Middle Ages, Challans was famous for its fairs and that tradition is still alive today with the Faire des Mines, a 5 day exhibition which takes place in early September. During the Wars of Religion, the town was very damaged King Louis XIII stayed in the town as he prepared for his decisive battle for the Ile-de-Riez in the year 1622. During the Wars of the Vendée, the town remained Republican as it fought off the Vendéen army’s attacks
During July and August, there is a fair in which the people try to turn the clock back to 1910 with many hundreds of locals dressing up in period costume and this is known as “Autrefois Challans”
There are superb market in Challans especially the one on Tuesday mornings and there are also many smart shops and cafés for you to browse.
Places of interest include
L’Isle aux Jeux
Which is an indoor activity centre for young children offering all the entertainment for most of the year.
Karting de Challans
With its 700 m long circuit where adults and children from seven years upwards can have a go at this exhilarating sport in this family go karting centre.